Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Two Climate Camps to be Held in September

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The Climatopia regional activist camp and the Adriatic Climate Camp will be held in September, and participants can find out what climate justice is and how to become an active part of the climate movement, the aktivizam.hr website said on Wednesday.

Climatopia will be held in Vojnić, Karlovac County on 10-16 September, organised by the Green Action NGO. It will bring together about 30 young people from Croatia, the Western Balkans, and Norway.

Green Action has invited everyone aged 18-35, fluent in English and very interested in environmental and climate issues, to join them.

The camp's theme is to link the climate movement and innovative climate activism.

The programme includes a day-long visit to Krk Island in the northern Adriatic, where the town of Njivice will host the Adriatic Climate Camp on 14-18 September, Croatia's first climate camp dedicated to building a strong climate movement in Croatia and Europe.

This camp follows two climate marches organised in Croatia by Extinction Rebellion Zagreb.

The two climate camps have been organised because activists want an urgent switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and to appeal for the use of Croatia's sun and wind for clean energy and energy independence.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Draft Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030 Presented

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The new Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030 plans to set sustainable tourism as an imperative and goal of the entire tourism sector, Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Wednesday at the first presentation of the draft strategy.

The public consultation on the document is open until 20 August. The submitted comments and suggestions will then be processed, and the strategy proposal will again be presented at Croatian Tourism Days in early October, after which it is to be adopted by the end of the year and enter into force as of 1 January next year, the minister said.

The vision of sustainable tourism development, she added, implies the well-being of the local population, respect for cultural, historical, and natural heritage, as well as addressing the shortage of quality tourism workers and reducing the impact of climate change on tourism and its negative impact on living conditions (with regard to waste, traffic jams etc.).

Tourist habits and demands are constantly changing, and tourists are increasingly looking for destinations that care about the sustainability of space and offer, but also about authentic experiences and safety, said Brnjac.

According to Zvonimira Šverko Grlić of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management in Opatija, which took part in the drafting, the document was harmonised with the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2030 and with the basic EU documents and policies, including the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).

Representatives of key stakeholders of the Croatian tourist sector, ministries and other relevant institutions also took part in the creation of the document, as did representatives of local communities and numerous citizens through surveys, with a total of 2,850 persons taking part.

Four main goals

Šverko Grlić said the strategy had four main goals, with the first being the development of year-round tourism and its regional balance, which means reducing its seasonality (the biggest in the Mediterranean), so that it takes place outside the summer and also on the continent.

The second goal is tourism with a preserved environment, space and climates, while the third goal is more competitive and innovative tourism with better solutions for human resources and accommodation, not like now, when private accommodation facilities account for 60% of the capacity.

The fourth goal is resilient tourism with a more effective legislative and management framework.

The adoption of the first law on tourism in Croatia is also planned, as well as a number of solutions for better data management, which will also be available to entrepreneurs.

Assistant Minister Robert Pende commented on the challenge of improving the quality of accommodation because due to the fact that 60% of capacities are family-run private facilities, tourism has lower revenue and lower quality, so the aim is to have more hotels and tourist resorts, which generate higher revenue and employ more people.

If the structure of accommodation is adapted to the offer and destination, we can become more successful in tourism than now, said Pende, adding that investments in higher quality accommodation and new tourist products would additionally be encouraged.

According to him, brownfield investments will be especially encouraged, which also leads to sustainability, but also greenfield investments, because those lead to higher quality, and HRK 1.25 billion from the NRRP will be provided to support such projects.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Post-Quake Reconstruction of Embankments in Sisak-Moslavina County Underway

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The Hrvatske Vode water management company is systematically repairing the embankments damaged in the devastating earthquakes in Sisak-Moslavina County, and works worth HRK 200 million (€27 million) are underway in 15 locations.

The reconstruction works are progressing well, the Hrvatske Vode general director Zoran Đuroković said on Wednesday while touring the construction site for the embankment on the right bank of the Kupa River near Krnjica in the Petrinja area.

The construction site was also visited by Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak and Elizabeta Kos of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

The works in the Petrinja area are worth HRK 60 million, we are reconstructing eight kilometres of the embankment, and there are a total of 15 such construction sites worth HRK 200 million, said the director of Hrvatske Vode.

All works are planned to be completed until 15 May next year since funding from the Solidarity Fund is being used.

Kos said that the earthquake damaged not only residential buildings but also infrastructure, and damage was also caused by erosion and landslides.

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development has reported all that damage to the Solidarity Fund, and we have HRK 555 million at our disposal, with all funds contracted. We believe we will spend them by 15 May 2023, said Kos.

In Petrinja alone, the damage to water supply and drainage amounts to HRK 160 million, and works have been contracted with public water service providers, she added.

Asked by the press how the drought affected the water supply, Đuroković said that drought was always a threat to the water supply but that the situation in Croatia was under control.

Although the water level of the River Sava is also very low, this does not cause problems for pumping stations in the Zagreb area, he added.

Therefore, we have available capacities for further development of water supply, so there will be no problems, he said.

As for the water supply in other parts of the country, he noted the situation was also under control.

Even in the Adriatic area, there are no special reductions despite a large number of tourists. The recent rain in Istria further alleviated the situation. Unlike other countries in Europe, we have been successfully resisting drought, Đuroković said.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

SMEs' Association Urges Govt Response to Gas Prices, Slams Zagreb Provider

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - The nongovernmental organisation "The Voice of Entrepreneurs" (UGP) on Wednesday urged the government to immediately respond to the volatile situation on the gas market and to price hikes, or it would stage a protest in Zagreb's main square.

The NGO issued a press release in which it warned that the unstable developments on the gas market resulted in multiple price rises, which is why micro, small and medium-sized businesses need the government's assistance and intervention.

It also criticised new gas supply contracts which are being sent recently by the Gradska Plinara Zagreb distributor of gas supplies in a wider area of Zagreb.

The association warns that these new contracts include a new means of payment through debentures in the amount of 1,000 or 2,000 euros. Furthermore, the Gradska Plinara Zagreb distributor stops offering fixed prices per kilowatt hour. Instead, the new draft contracts provide for fluctuating prices which will depend on the average prices on the natural gas market in Austria or Hungary, and the NGO warns that these prices could be between record high €150 and €200 per kilowatt hour.

The UGP highlights the fact that the distributor also shortened the time frame for signing the contracts until 1 September. Otherwise, the Gradska Plinara Zagreb supplier will kick off the process of cessation of the provision of gas supplies.

This short period of less than a month is not enough for businesses to search for more favourable gas supply distributors, says the association.

The association's leader Hrvoje Bujas said that in the event of the authorities' failure to take strong action, about 20,000 members of the association, who are mainly micro businesses and SMEs, will stage a protest rally in the centre of Zagreb.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Croatia Registers Record-High Inflation at 12.3%

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - Consumer prices in Croatia in July were 12.3% higher on the year, which is the highest inflation in the country since the national statistical office (DZS) has been keeping data, mainly due to higher fuel and food prices.

Month on month, the prices of goods and services for personal consumption were 0.4% higher, the DZS said on Wednesday.

In June, the year-on-year price increase was 12.1%. July was the third month in a row in which consumer prices saw a two-digit increase.

In the first seven months of 2022, the consumer prices index increased by 9.1% year on year, Raiffeisenbank Austria analysts said in a comment on the DZS data.

Broken down by the main divisions of the ECOICOP classification, at the annual level, the highest increase on average in consumer prices was recorded in Transport, of 19.2%, followed by Food and non-alcoholic beverages, of 18.3%, Restaurants and hotels, of 16.8%, Furnishings, household equipment, and routine household maintenance, of 14.1%, Recreation and culture, of 10.0%, Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels, of 9.7%, Miscellaneous goods and services, of 7% and Clothing and footwear, of 5.5%.

RBA analysts expect two-digit increases in the coming months as well and a mild stabilisation only towards the end of the year.

That will mainly be a consequence of the base period and, to a lesser extent, of a slowing down of economic activity, they said.

They don't expect energy and food prices to fall, only to slow down and possibly stabilise at the currently increased levels, forecasting that this year Croatia will record the highest inflation rate in its recent history, 9.2% or higher.

RBA analysts believe part of the inflationary pressures will be carried into 2023, saying it is quite likely that energy prices will remain high. However, administrative price capping must stop at some point, which will result in higher prices of certain products and services, they said.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Croatia Logs 771 New COVID Cases, 8 Deaths

ZAGREB, 17 August, 2022 - In the last 24 hours, 771 coronavirus cases, out of 3,272 tests, and eight related deaths have been registered in Croatia, the national COVID-19 crisis management team said on Wednesday.

There are 6,427 active cases, including 657 hospitalised patients, 29 of whom on ventilators, while 2,855 persons are self-isolating.

Croatia has logged 1,201,743 COVID cases to date, the death toll has reached 16,528, and 70.86% of the adult population has been vaccinated, of whom 68.83% fully.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Darija Walter of PLANTaža on Art Project Urban Intervention Osijek

August 17, 2022 - A wonderful artistic intervention has just dawned in the city of Osijek. It put the spotlight on the historical beauty of cities. A tram stop that dates to 1926 was refurbished by the famous street artist Lonac, under the Urban Intervention project headed by Darija Walter.

Darija is a woman changing things at the local level, to stimulate change on a global level. In recent years, life in Croatia has focused more and more on the capital, while the rest remains neglected, uninhabited, and without events and plans. Darija operates through the association PLANTaža. She also works on a series of projects that truly change Osijek, and not only Osijek but contribute to the entire community. Journal spoke with Daria about all the current and upcoming plans that, little by little, bring life to where it should have always been.

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Darija Walter on her beginnings, art…

You have now been in the PLANTaža association for eight years, how do you see those years, compared to the time before you became part of it, how much has it changed your life?

I have been working with the PLANTaža Association since the very beginning of the association's work when an enthusiastic group of people gathered who wanted to start some new stories in Osijek. Today, eight years later, I realize how much the association has influenced my life. It gave me a new opportunity that I was not aware of before and thus determined my path. I have always known that I wanted to do work that has a direct impact on solving problems in the community, offers sustainable and meaningful solutions, and involves all age groups. It never crossed my mind that I would do that in the city I love so much. The city I wanted to leave eight years ago because I didn't see any prospects.

"It would be nice to write about Slavonia in an optimistic tone"

How much, in your opinion, does investment and contribution to a city, especially not the capital of Croatia, mean, on a larger level, while most investments are oriented specifically towards Zagreb or the south of the country?

Like any other area, the city of Osijek could use investment, especially in the field of creating new jobs. Although we do not stand side by side with the big companies, the association is an employer that, through EU funds, offers the opportunity for employment and first work experiences. We are not the only ones there. We cooperate with a whole range of associations that operate in Osijek and continue to develop their stories despite numerous obstacles. Croatia does not only consist of Zagreb. It is precisely for this reason that equal investment should be encouraged so that other parts of the country can also expect development.

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In addition, it would be nice if Slavonia and Baranja were written about in an optimistic tone, and not just about mass emigration. Although unfortunately many have sought their happiness outside this region, life has not disappeared. Changes are happening, people are trying, and a lot is happening regardless of all the challenges that stand in the way of success in this ungrateful environment of ours.

"Only through our involvement can we influence changes"

What is your motivation for projects? This is now your lifestyle, not just an occupation.

Working in an association becomes a way of life, whether I want to admit it or not. Classic working hours do not exist. Vacations have become an invisible concept to me because most of the activities are carried out during the summer. My office is wherever I can connect to the Internet. My motivation is to influence change, however small it may be. Only this way can we contribute to the creation of some new, sustainable and healthy habits that can only further enrich our lives. Only through our engagement can we directly affect changes in our community – which in the long term affects the understanding of the kind of society we leave to our descendants as an inheritance.

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Reconstruction of the oldest tram stop

You have just presented an art installation within the oldest tram stop in Osijek through the Urban Intervention project, can you tell us more about it?

The Urban Intervention project is being implemented for the fourth year in a row to present artistic illustrations within the oldest tram stop in Osijek, which dates back to 1926. The station was neglected for many years and left to wait for better days. This is exactly why, with the support of donors and the Conservation Department in Osijek, we decided to restore the glass surface and give it a new purpose.

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We desire to return the stop to its original state, refurbish the entire surface, and with the support of the City, restorers, and the Conservation Department in Osijek, make it a real small gallery space, unique in Croatia. Until that happens, we will continue to present new artistic illustrations to further promote urban culture and new artistic practices. This year we presented an artistic illustration signed by the famous Croatian street artist Lonac. So far, Slađana Zubić, Tea Jurišić, and Vedran Klemens have introduced themselves to the Osijek audience.

Project Urbani Osijek

The Urbani Osijek project connects urban culture through the tourist offer of the city. How much did it contribute to the tourist image of Osijek?

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The Urbani Osijek project was created last year by the secretary of the association, Vedran Grizbaher. The project itself includes the promotion of urban culture through a touristic approach and contains a whole series of creative activities such as cycle-urban routes, concept lectures I Travel Solo in which female travelers are presented. There is also an urban guide to Osijek, which was created as a desire to present the contents of Osijek in one place in an illustrated version beautifully painted by Yellow Yuri. The project gave birth to creative solutions and original tourist products, such as the already mentioned urban guide, which we plan to promote even further.

The first art workshop

You are preparing the first art workshop "Vibration of Art" soon, whose theme will be Nikola Tesla. Can you tell us more about that?

The Vibration of Art is a project whose activities we are very much looking forward to. Our first activity will start soon at the Slama Land Art Festival, which has been organized by the Slama association for more than 15 years. This year the theme is Nikola Tesla. In accordance with that, we will hold a land art workshop and a Tesla transformer workshop under the expert guidance of Nikola Faller. The project itself also includes informal theater dance workshops led by Mira Sekereš from Shine Dance Studio, panel discussions, and poetry evenings.

What is she looking forward to?

Do you spend the whole summer working and what are you looking forward to in the autumn?

This year is unique for several reasons, so the whole summer has been busy for me. I will take a short break in September, and until then I will continue in the same rhythm. In the autumn, I will be working on the PLANTida ecologically sustainable festival and a whole series of new things that have yet to come. In any case, I'm happy with this busy creativity, I enjoy the process of learning and tinkering, and as long as it's like that, it doesn't need to be any other way!

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All photos by Udruga PLANTaža

Osijek is the regional centre of Slavonia and Baranja, and much like the rest of eastern Croatia, it is indeed full of life. Why aren't you here?

How good is your knowledge of eastern Croatia anyway? Take the CROMADS test above - how many places do you recognise?

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Cultural Centre Mesnička (KCM) in Zagreb to Close

August 17, 2022 - While this is probably not the biggest breaking news in Croatia these days, there are a lot of people angry and said that a popular alternative bar, KCM in Zagreb is closing after many years.

I often get messages from our CEO Paul Bradbury which read "What do you know about this-or-that?". Usually, honestly, it's not much, but I'm a very proficient Googler, so I end up finding the answers for him. That is the dynamic which leads to him thinking that I'm the person who knows a lot about Croatia, so don't tell him it's all Google.

Anyway, today's question was if I knew anything about his local KCM in Mesnička being closed. I really haven't heard about that, and at first, I thought - oh, he must've gotten something wrong, no way was KCM closing. It has been a staple of Zagreb's cultural scene, a bar where exhibitions, workshops, courses, lectures were held, frequented by those who cared about the (alternative) culture for a long, long time. Located in the city centre, at the bottom of the Mesnička street, near the entrance of the tunnel and the beginning of the Strossmayer Promenade, it was almost always full of young people, loved by loyal locals and appreciated by tourists. Why would it be closed now? It made no sense.

And then I Googled, literally 'KCM closing' (in Croatian) and what came out is not what I was expecting at all:

To give you a brief overview of their Facebook post, yes, they're closing. They invited all of their friends to join them in the upcoming several days at their "Silent Protest Blanket Jam Parties", which will be the last opportunity to hang out there, as they will soon (not specified when exactly) have to close their doors. They thank the Croatian family farms, which are standing by them, so they will be able to welcome their guests with some local wine, rakija and a small snack, to thank them for being their loyal customers.

They go on to explain that all of the people working there worked several jobs, just to be able to keep working at KCM. They mention how they organized over 2000 various events and programs there, and were never helped by the local government, not even in a form of a free parking ticket for the performers to bring their instruments or exhibits. What they were given are 14 million kuna of parking tickets (I'm not entirely sure if that's hyperbole or what!).

They can no longer take the abuse from the institutions and the half-world (they use the beautiful Croatian word "polusvijet", which can be translated to English as "demimonde" and boy, it that a great translation and a metaphor) of Croatian bureaucracy. They complain that they've spent the last five years visiting various offices, offering bribes in the form of kulenova seka, rakija, and homemade Croatian cream from the industrial hemp for their hemorrhoids, just trying to find out where to get that one paper they were missing. They explain that in every office they were treated like vermin, made fun of for their appearance by the people in those offices unaware that their paychecks come from the public. They simply can not allow themselves to be continually blamed and punished, without any rhyme or reason, except for the desire to take everything they earn. One thing they still maintain is their freedom of choice, so they choose to close, and they feel like they've earned that freedom. They want their guests to find their freedom too, as they say that freedom is a start, while culture is the finish line. Their last line is dedicated to those who have been badgering them for years: "Get your head out of your own haemorrhoid-filled ass and stop thinking only of yourself."

As you might imagine, this post has caused a lot of anger among their Facebook followers and loyal guests. Many of them expressed disbelief that this is happening now, over a year after a progressive, almost alternative political power took over in Zagreb, and mention how many times they saw the current mayor in KCM. Others blame the structures put in place by the former administration, which were not dismantled by the current one. Most commenters are sad that KCM is closing and at the same time worried about what it says about the direction of policy of the city. Some mention the probable future for that location: yet another of the same bars, with a plexiglass-built terrace, where you'll be able to watch football games, owned by someone who is very capable of navigating the intricacies of Croatian bureaucracy and corruption. Just another step in the direction of a city without a soul. 

In another one of their posts, they invite their guests to join them tonight at 11 pm for a concert by Chris Ian, a longtime street musician in Zagreb, whom they call the "good spirit" of KCM.

 

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Arctic Monkeys Rock Pula Arena

Pula, August 17th, 2022

British rock band Arctic Monkeys performed in front of a packed crowd in Pula last night. The concert was already sold out within seconds when personalised tickets went on sale in November. Rumors are that black market prices reached 5000HRK despite security measures. Supporting act Inhaler were also able to convince the mostly young crowd. (All Photos: Burak Canboy)

 

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Approximately 7000 fans from all over Europe came to see the "Modern Day Gladiators entertain the masses" at the ancient Pula Arena. The Indie Rock band from Sheffield around lead singer and guitarist Alex Turner performed 21 songs from 5 albums and left the guests leaving with smiling faces after having waited for the band to return to touring since Corona hit. The stage was paired with two large screens on the sides and a ring of light with additional live video footage in the center. Regular concert visitors claimed this having been the best performance at Pula Arena since the Foo Fighters. Alongside Turner, the three regular band members Jamie Cook (guitar), Matt Helders (drums) and Nick O'Malley (bass guitar) shared the stage with touring members Davey Latter (percussion) and Tyler Parkford (keyboards) to deliver a show on the highest level.

 

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Supporting act, Inhaler -an Irish rock band from Dublin- also quickly captured hearts. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Elijah Hewson, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson and drummer Ryan McMahon. Insiders long know the band since Elijah Hewson the son of legendary Bono started in 2012. The band did not need to live off of the big name who was enjoying the event from the VIP lounge. Inhaler seized the opportunity to hype the crowd and even managed the security when needed, just as if they never do anything else.

 

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Most heard comments after the concert:

"This was surely one of the most awaited concerts in 2022."

"It's not every day that you get to sing along live to amazing songs like RU Mine?Do I Wanna Know? and I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor."

"Arctic Monkeys picked one of the greatest locations on Earth."

"We were hoping to also hear new songs, but in the end it didn't really matter."

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 17 August 2022

TCN Photo Contest: We Have a Winner!

August 17, 2022 - Organized by Total Croatia News, and with a unique collaboration with Plitvice Lakes National Park, the TCN Photo Contest has a winner, who will be able to visit the largest and oldest national park in Croatia with a companion!

On June 20, Total Croatia News announced their first collaboration with the largest and oldest national park, and definitely one of the most beloved, Plitvice Lakes. With spring over and paving the way for summer, Total Croatia News sought to encourage both locals and visitors to Croatia to share their best photographs of the country's natural beauty. While the goal was to promote such beauty through the eyes of numerous users on Instagram, Total Croatia News and Plitvice Lakes would reward their favorite photograph with two tickets for the author to visit the National Park, courtesy of Plitvice.

Through Instagram, our followers and more users shared their photos, and those who complied with the rules entered the competition.

After the deadline for submission of photos, representatives of Total Croatia News and Plitvice Lakes National Park chose one winning photo and two photos with special recognition. The winners of the TCN photo contest are the following.

The winner of the photo contest organized by Total Croatia News in collaboration with the Plitvice Lakes National Park was Elena Tessitori (@ienatessi), from Arta Terme in Italy, who submitted a spectacular photograph with a view of the National Park from high, showing its beautiful colors. Elena is the winner of two tickets to Plitvice Lakes, courtesy of the National Park. Congratulations, Elena!

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Likewise, Total Croatia News and Plitvice Lakes National Park have wanted to give special recognition to two very good photographs and their authors. An honorable mention goes to Stefania Hodak (@iloveplitvice), a Croat from Drežnik Grad, who showed Plitvice at another time of year, just as beautiful and worth visiting. Congratulations, Stefania!

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Photo: Reshma R.

And also an honorable mention to Reshma R (@reshmaramjyothi), originally from India and currently residing in Münster, Germany, whose photo of what she considers her favorite place in the world evokes feelings of peace and fantasy. Well done Reshma!

Congratulations to the recognized authors and all the participants of this TCN photo contest, who did not make the task of choosing only three photographs easy. We congratulate your great work and your originality. We encourage everyone to continue sharing the natural beauty that Croatia offers in all its regions, national parks, and nature parks. Likewise, we would like to thank Plitvice Lakes National Park in a very special way for its generous collaboration, willingness, and great work in managing the National Park and promoting the country as a top natural destination.

For more on what to do and how to get to Plitvice Lakes National Park, check out our dedicated Total Croatia page HERE. Additionally, feel free to visit our 2021 guide on all Croatian National and Nature Parks HERE.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

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